Basel, 29 August 2017. So far, GETO was short for „Gemeinschaft der Europäischen Transsibirien Operateure und Spediteure“ (Association of European Trans-Siberia Operators and Forwarders); as of now, GETO stands for the “Group of European TransEurasia Operators and Forwarders”. In the past, when the Eurasian landbridge was mentioned, it first of all denoted the Trans-Siberian railway corridor that GETO originally was named for. Yet this has changed completely since the Belt and Road Initiative was introduced in 2013 by the Chinese government. With its new name, GETO wants to take into account the eminent importance of the Eurasian landbridge.
Revival of the Silk Road
With the Belt and Road Initiative, transport costs were subsidized from the Silk Road Fund, which allowed many players in the market to win new business and to add to their portfolio. During these past twelve months, the number of railway connections between China and Europe kept rising enormously, and owing to numerous investments new routes are developed or old ones are revived.
Railway lines, roads, even entire ports are being modernized to create an overland route to Russia, Iran and Europe, in the style of the old Silk Road. As a hub, Kazakhstan plays a major role here. The country, ninth in size globally, borders China, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and the Caspian Sea and thus holds an important geo-strategic position.
Increasing the attraction of the Eurasian landbridge
Also under its new name, or rather: now more than ever because of its new name, GETO will represent the interests of the operators and forwarders in the market, it will act as an information platform for its members and maintain important public relations work to market the Eurasian landbridge and to contribute to the increase of transport volumes along the new Silk Road. GETO demands and enforces further measures to heighten the attraction of these traffics, since the current, enormous growth rates are owed to the subventions from the Silk Road Fund.
In view of this, GETO considers it indispensable to take steps to safeguard the train offers for the long term. This includes further reducing the rates for routes, wagons, containers in order to be able to keep the current, subsidized price level also in future. The GETO members also think it necessary to offer clocked departures with fixed schedules, to enforce a further reduction of transit times, to introduce end-to-end IT structures to speed up handling, and to create attractive models for the return of empties, for which, in the long term, the only sensible solution is an increase in east bound volumes.
In establishing so-called hub systems at the CIS entry and exit border points, GETO sees another measure to cut costs and thus increase competitiveness. It would allow bundling train traffics and thus help achieve a higher utilization of the broad gauge sections that are not fully utilized nowadays, as Europe and China have different rules concerning maximum train lengths.
The CCTT’s European pillar
GETO was founded in Basel, Switzerland, in 1978. The group is among the initiators and founders of the international Coordinating Council on Transsiberian Transportation (CCTT) registered in Moscow, and plays an important role as the West-European presence of an international network for the support of rail traffics between Europe and Asia.
The joint endeavors of CCTT and GETO to back international traffic along the Eurasians landbridge with various initiatives have substantially contributed to the development of the traffics along this important rail corridor.
On September 20 and 21, GETO is taking part in the 26th Plenary Session of CCTT to represent the interests of its members at this significant convention. Appropriately enough, the meeting is held in Beijing, China, hosted by China Railway Container Transport Co. Ltd., an affiliate of Chinese Railway.
More than 200 delegates from 25 countries will attend; among them representatives of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, representatives of the railway companies of the CIS, the Baltic states, Europe and Asia, delegates of major associations and organizations such as the Organization for the Collaboration of Railways (OSJD), the International Union of Railways (UIC), the International Railway Traffic Committee (CIT), the International Forwarders’ Association (FIATA) as well as national forwarders’ associations and leading transport, logistics, insurance and IT companies. Oleg Belozerov, the President of the Russian Railways OJSC and chairman of CCTT, will give the opening speech. In the course of the first morning, Hans Reinhard, President of GETO and Vice Chairman of CCTT, will give a talk, too.